Names in essays and term papers

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1. Names are always given capital letters when they are:

proper nouns James Smith
particular places Europe, East Anglia
days of the week Wednesday, Friday
months of the year June, November
public festivals Easter, Christmas
organisations British Broadcasting Corporation
institutions House of Commons
titles Archbishop of Canterbury

2. Capital letters are not necessary when a noun is being used in its general rather than its particular sense:

Manchester University / a university education

the King of France / kings and queens of Spain

3. Names which are formed from adjectival use of nouns do not take capital letters:

french doors     indian ink     roman numerals

4. The plurals of most names are formed by the addition of s

the Andersons     the Joyces     the Frys

5. Where the name ends in s, ch, or sh the plural is
formed by adding es:

the Rosses     the Marshes     the Finches

6. The following example, taken from The Guardian of 15 October 1991, combines the names of the Prime Minister, two political parties, an institution, and an organisation:

The Tories yesterday raised the stakes in the continuing battle over the credibility of John Major’s National Health Service assurances when they accused Labour of twisting statistics and the English language to sustain its claim that Mr Major is engineering a "creeping privatisation" of the service.

7. Capital letters are also used for the names of:

public thoroughfares Bois de Boulogne
civic holidays Christmas Day
geographical names Straight of Gibraltar
important events World War II
trade names Xerox, Jaguar, Kleenex

8. Where an English form of a foreign place-name exists, it should be used:

Dunkirk   Moscow   Munich   Naples   Venice

© Roy Johnson 2003


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